News / Middle East

Widespread Twitter Outages in Turkey After PM Threatens Ban

FILE - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his lawmakers in Ankara, Feb. 25, 2014.
FILE - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his lawmakers in Ankara, Feb. 25, 2014.
Reuters
— Twitter users in Turkey reported widespread outages on Friday, hours after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan threatened to shut down access to the social media platform as he battles a damaging corruption scandal.
 
Some users trying to open the Twitter.com website were taken to a statement apparently from Turkey's telecommunications regulator (TIB). The statement cited four court orders as the basis for blocking the site, where some users in recent weeks have posted voice recordings and documents purportedly showing evidence of corruption among Erdogan's inner circle.
 
“Twitter, mwitter!,” Erdogan told thousands of supporters at a rally ahead of March 30 local elections late on Thursday, in a phrase translating roughly as “Twitter, schmitter!”.
 
“We will wipe out all of these,” said Erdogan, who has said the corruption scandal is part of a smear campaign by his political enemies.
 
“The international community can say this, can say that. I don't care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is,” he said in a characteristically unyielding tone.
 
San Francisco-based Twitter said Thursday afternoon local time that it was looking into the matter and had not issued a formal statement. But the company did publish a tweet addressed to Turkish users instructing them on how to continue tweeting via SMS text message.
 
Twitter, which was originally invented as a text message-based network before it evolved into a Web-based multimedia platform, allows users to access stripped down versions of its service.
 
Turkish Internet users were quick to come up with their own ways to circumvent the block. The hashtag #TwitterisblockedinTurkey quickly moved among the top trending globally.
 
The disruption sparked a virtual uproar with many comparing Turkey to Iran and North Korea, where social media platforms are tightly controlled.
 
There were also calls to take to the street to protest, although some users equally called for calm.
 
Nazli Ilicak, a columnist who used to work for the pro-government Sabah newspaper described the move as “a civil coup” in an interview on broadcaster CNN Turk.
 
Latest Clash

 
Following his speech, Erdogan's office said in a statement that Erdogan was referring to what it called Twitter's failure to implement Turkish court orders seeking the removal of some links and that they may be left with no option but to ban the platform.
 
“If Twitter officials insist on not implementing court orders and rules of law ... there will be no other option but to prevent access to Twitter to help satisfy our citizens' grievances,” the statement said.
 
Thursday's apparent blocking was only the latest clash between Turkey's ruling party and social media companies including Google, Facebook and Twitter.
 
After a series of popular protests partly fueled by Twitter last summer, Erdogan slammed the service as “a scourge.” Shortly thereafter a government minister asked Twitter to establish an office in the country so that it could better communicate requests to take down content or hold the company accountable to Turkish law. Twitter did not respond to the request.
 
Erdogan said two weeks ago that Turkey could also ban Facebook and YouTube, which he says have been abused by his enemies after a stream of audio recordings purportedly revealing corruption in his inner circle emerged online.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ozlam from: Turkey
March 20, 2014 9:39 PM
this scumbag is destroying my country. where is the US..?? you hypocrites..!! where are the sanctions on this Islamic scumbag...?? Where are all the bleeding hearts hypocrites from "Academia" - here you have a brutal Islamic State - oppressing Women and Minorities - no freedom of speech or expression of any kind... and you know all this... and you do NOTHING.!! Hypocrites.

In Response

by: Arne Wagenaar from: Gendt
March 23, 2014 5:49 AM
Why, did you believe that the US was doing anything for freedom and democracy, because that is what their propaganda tells you? Wake up mister. Only thing USA is interested in is their interests. Turkey happens to be a key ally they will not criticise or interfere. In Syria, yes, because that is an enemy and it fits in the US agenda to destabilise that regime. Don't hold your breath for help from the outside. You will have to solve it yourselves.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid